Mystery We Write Blog Tour: WRITING ABOUT CRIME

by Jean Henry Mead

I’ve always been fascinated with crime. As child growing up in Los Angeles, I read the LA Times, where there were always crimes featured in the front section of the newspaper. My high school was inhabited by gang members with switch blade knives and girlfriends with razor blades hidden in their hair, and I lived in fear that one of them would take a dislike to me. So crime was a morbid fascination not unlike watching horror movies.

I wrote my first novel when I was nine, a chapter a day to entertain classmates, but switched to journalism in high school and college. My first writing job was police reporting for the daily newspaper. But it was many years and nonfiction books later that I decided to write mystery novels and I’ve never looked back.
My Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series features two 60-year old amateur sleuths who live in a San Joaquin Valley retirement village in my first novel, A Village Shattered. Their friends and Sew and So Club members are dying alphabetically so Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty decide to discover who the serial killer is before they’re his next victims.

In the second novel, Diary of Murder, they sell their houses and buy a motorhome to travel the country. While traveling in Colorado, they receive a call from Dana’s brother-in-law saying that his wife has committed suicide. Knowing that Dana’s sister would never take her own life, they rush to Wyoming through a Rocky Mountain blizzard. Once there they discover her sister’s diary, which tells of her husband’s infidelities and his involvement in a vicious drug ring. During their investigation, they stumble over more bodies and place their own lives in danger.

In my latest release, Murder on the Interstate, Dana and Sarah are traveling along I-40 in northern Arizona, where they discover the body of a beautiful young woman shot to death in her Mercedes convertible along the highway. When the killer returns to make certain the woman’s dead, he disables their motorhome and flees when a woman trucker by the name of “Big Ruby” McCurdy comes to their rescue. Determined to record the killer’s license number, they take off in Ruby’s produce truck to track him down. Later, they learn the killer is tracking them, and, in their attempt to escape, they wreck their motorhome, are caught in a flash flood and are kidnapped by the killer’s terrorist gang. But before that happens, Dana’s journalist daughter Kerrie arrives to help with the investigation. In the process she falls in love with an FBI agent who’s investigating the terrorists.

My books are sprinkled with romance and humor to offset the crimes, although my murders are more creative than grisly. My purpose in writing the series is to portray older people accomplishing things other than sitting in rocking chairs and playing bridge. I’ve driven a 36-foot motorhome around the Southwest pulling a car trailer, at age 60, while listening to truckers on a CB radio, so my research is genuine, although, thankfully, I didn’t discover any bodies along the way. :)

(Murder on the Interstate is now available on Kindle and soon form


Jean Henry Mead is a mystery/suspense and western historical novelist. She's also an award-winning photojournalist. One of her fortes is interviewing writers, actors, politicians, artists and ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. She began her writing career as a California news reporter/editor/photographer, first in Central California and later in San Diego. Mead later transferred to Casper, Wyoming, to serve as a staff writer for the statewide newspaper. While there she served as editor of In Wyoming Magazine and two small presses. She also freelanced for other publications, both domestically and abroad, among them the Denver Post's Empire Magazine. Her first book was published in 1981. She's since published thirteen additional nonfiction books and novels.




Jean Henry Mead said…
Thank you for featuring my work, Marilyn. I know that it sounds as though I were raised in a ghetto, but my neighborhood was quite nice for East Los Angeles. My four brothers and I walked two miles to school to an entirely different neighborhood, which I'm grateful for now because it made me realize that there were much less fortunate people than I was at that time.
I had friends and relatives that lived in East L.A. Of course it was many years ago.

Thanks for visiting, Jean.

Jackie King said…
"I've always been facinated by crime..." says our Jean. Ah ha! A closet bad girl. I knew it, that's why she writes such great mysteries.
Jackie King
(And I'm a Miss Goodie-Two-Shoes.)
Jean Henry Mead said…
Not really, Jackie, but thank you for the kind words. :)
Sharon Ervin said…
Jean and Marilyn, Thank you for an eye-openiing visit. I plan to load all of Jean's books on my Kindle. What a gold mine.

Sharon Ervin
4RV Publishing said…
Aren't we all just a bit fascinated with crime? That's why we write about it. We can be "bad" and not hurt anyone. Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Jean Henry Mead said…
Thank you, Sharon. You've made my day!
Jean Henry Mead said…
You're absolutely right, Vivian. I worked as a police reporter for a while in California and quit to write books because I couldn't take the "realism" of the job. I'd much rather make up my own crimes.
Jackie King said…
Vivian, That's the truth. Closet bad-girls one and all. Such fun to be able to explore things in your imagination and yet stay safely out of the slammer.
Jackie King
Jean Henry Mead said…
lol, Jackie. Now I know why I enjoy reading your work. :)
Anne K. Albert said…
Traveling the country in a motorhome and writing as the miles fly by is my dream, Jean. I've never driven anything larger than a van, am more of a city girl than country, but you give me hope (and the determination) to do it! Thank you for sharing and participating in the 2011 Mystery We Write Blog Tour.
kim23 said…
thanks for this sharing! 'Murder on the Interstate' seems to be a great and interesting book! can't wait to read it! Yesterday, I finished to read another fascinating police novel written by Elizabeth K Lee. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it!
Jackie King said…
Thanks, Kim. I'm always looking for good books to read.
Jackie King

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